YOU CAN DO WITHOUT A MADE-UP GOSPEL
We can limp to heaven or we can stride robustly to heaven. Our inheritance can come to us, or be undone by the narrative we believe; by the view that inhabits our mind and the symbols to which we attach ourselves. For example the symbol of the Lord’s Table contained in the cross and its deathly halloes, is different in its effect on our lives to the meaning of the eucharist as atonement and incarnation. Life-giving symbolism is ours when we have the mind of Christ – when our story and its meaning are the same as that of God.
Leanne Payne observes that personhood can be deconstructed by bogus symbolism. “That occurs when the wholesome symbols that bind up reality for us are missing and are replaced by an inner imagery that reflects the loss of true relationship (whether to God, our fellows, or the earth and all creation).” (1) This can happen when we have a gospel that is not Christ’s Gospel.
In the 4th century the Church met the bent symbolism of Arianism head on. Had this heresy gained traction the mediation of Christ would have been eliminated and we would have been on our own.
A false narrative with a marred view of Father and a diminished view of man precipitated the fall – Satan insinuated a symbolism that lied about Father and lied about us. Both were painted as less than they are. Thus, when Messiah came, He revealed who Father was and who we are in His person.
IMAGES AND STORIES
Spiritual symbols are the collection of images and stories we hold in our mind – the images we hold of God and self. When these are distorted and warped from the truth of who and what they are, our lives are warped, and our humanity crippled.
It’s for this reason we owe it to ourselves to embrace Christ’s Gospel of the Kingdom which is the Gospel of the apostles and Church Fathers. Other Gospels, as Paul warns, attract a curse because they insert a false reality at the core of our lives: Our relationship with God.
An ‘Unmoved Mover’ kind of God does nothing for human development. A projection of the legalised mind is no better and neither is a Father Christmas kind of God who is on hand to make us prosper. Gregory Boyd asserts that much Christianity is a Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil. I believe he is right. Some faith communities live from a prominent legalism. Much of Christianity lives from the more subtle perversion of the Kingdom as resisting evil and doing good with Jesus help. But that’s not our inheritance. This heresy is not as overtly noxious but is more pervasive than Arianism, to which it is not entirely un-related. Why? A law fostering Christ is not the Christ of God.
CHRIST OUR INFINITE LIFE
God is seen and known as He is, in Jesus Christ. Eternal life and all life is experienced in knowing God in Jesus Christ whom God has sent as He is. The subtlety of perverse symbolism happens when a gospel is presented to superficially and look like the Gospel of Jesus and Paul but is not. Because it is a more subtle version of the beliefs that caused the fall. The lie that we must add something to what God has done
Communities of faith can have the quality of life of a dead tree because the legalised god they worship is pretty much a dead tree. Sure, he is often called ‘almighty’ but this betrays a distance. Not union, communion and intimacy. A legalised God is an abstraction. The Christ of God is a person of the personal trinity – the ultimate in personhood.
INSULATED AGAINST LIFE
“When our minds are pregnant with illusion, with the lie that disintegrates the personality, and our eyes are set on that, we cannot be impregnated by that which is true and substantive—that which unites the personality and makes it one.” (2) Some communities live inside a bottle of delusion. A distorted gospel, a mangled symbolism and a false christ are a barrier to knowing God, knowing ourselves and being who we are as sons and daughters of God. We owe it to Jesus, to ourselves, to others and those to whom we minister to have the mind of Christ.
Good-living but misguided Believers indoctrinated into a legalised Christ are never sure of their belonging in God. I know a good man who often says. ‘I just hope I have done enough.” Such thoughts come from a bent version of salvation, the teaching of legalistic leaders and a law-based ‘gospel’.
CHRIST IS YOUR LIFE
Christ is both our righteousness and Christ is us vis a vis God. “The eternal destiny of every human being is in the loving hands of Jesus Christ, our Judge. But Jesus is not only our Judge; he is also the one who takes our judgment upon himself. He takes the penalty of sin upon his own shoulders and dies in our place. In the words of the great modern Christian thinker, Karl Barth, Jesus is the “Judge judged in our place.” (3)
- (1) Payne, Leanne. The Healing Presence (p. 141). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
- (2) Ibid. P 141.
(3) Davis, Martin M.. The Christian Doctrine of God . AsiAfrica Ministries, Inc.. Kindle Edition.